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Dead cats found hanging from New York tree killed by blows: authorities

By Victoria Cavaliere

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Twenty-five dead cats found stuffed in plastic bags and hung from tree limbs in Yonkers, outside New York City, were killed by blows to the head, investigators said on Friday.

The dead cats were discovered on Thursday by sanitation workers doing a routine cleanup of wooded areas in Yonkers, about 17 miles north of New York City, according to the Westchester County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The felines were all in different states of decomposition, indicating they had been killed at different times, the SPCA said. Their bodies, stuffed in black, white and yellow plastic grocery bags, appear to have been strung from the tree limbs over the past several months.

"All of us at the SPCA of Westchester are deeply appalled by this depraved act of animal cruelty," said Shannon Laukhuf, the group's executive director.

Necropsy results released Friday found the cats died of blunt force trauma to the head, the SPCA said.

"Both the SPCA of Westchester and the Yonkers Police Department are highly motivated to find those who are responsible for this heinous act," said Ernest Lungaro, director of the SPCA of Westchester's Humane Law Enforcement Division.

Investigators were still trying to determine whether the cats were feral or domestic.

The killings do not appear to be part of a ritual, the SPCA said.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Lisa Shumaker)

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